Bath City (1) 3 Chelmsford City (0) 2 – FA Trophy 2nd Round – Tuesday 15 December 2020 – Twerton Park
Match Report by Mark Stillman
Cole Kpekawa was the unwitting FA Trophy matchwinner for Bath City as they and Chelmsford produced a second captivating contest in the space of four days.
Tommy Conway put City 1-0 up early of this round two tie and they were in control of an uneventful first half, with most of the drama falling in the second.
Adam Morgan levelled and Dylan Asonganyi’s bundled finish meant the Clarets looked to be heading for round three, with Morgan having a penalty shout turned down after tangling with Jack Batten.
Within 30 seconds City were on terms through Conway and nine minutes later Kpekawa’s unfortunate own goal, Chelmsford’s second against Bath in a week, earned City a home tie with Swindon Supermarine this Saturday.
Following all the drama at the weekend, it continued into the build-up as Will Henry was thrown into the starting line-up with under 10 minutes notice, and a communication breakdown saw Chelmsford arrive without a kit, meaning they had to wear Bath’s change purple strip from last season.
City started brightly and for the third game running managed to net inside 11 minutes. On eight minutes, Freddie Grant marked his return from injury with a dangerous cross from the left which saw Conway sneak unopposed to expertly guide home on the volley across Lee Worgan from six yards.
He could have had a second on 22 minutes. The impressive James Taylor showed good skill and composure coming forward before slipping it through to Conway, but Ade Oluwo’s presence put off the forward who shot straight at Worgan.
Debutant Henry was relatively untroubled in the Bath goal but was equal to his first test as Asonganyi slipped Charlie Sheringham through as the keeper stood tall to parry wide.
Tom Smith’s drive from distance took a wicked deflection but sailed inches over with Worgan beaten as City closed the half positively, unaware of what laid in store after the break.
Tom Richards floated a shot over after Ryan Harley won possession easily in midfield before Chelmsford stunned a near-empty Twerton Park with a leveller on 56 minutes.
Asonganyi linked up with Tom Wraight on the left, with the wing-back’s first time low cross swept home by Morgan from a similar spot to Conway’s opener.
The Clarets clearly sensed blood as they poured bodies forward for a corner soon after equalising, and they were left exposed as Morgan’s awry pass was intercepted by Richards. In a two v one situation, Conway returned it back to Richards but the recalled Roman dragged tamely wide with just Worgan to beat.
It looked like it would prove costly as the visitors took a shock lead on 65 minutes. Kpekawa’s near post corner saw Asonganyi contrive to hit the post from two yards, but he immediately redeemed himself by ramming the rebound into the roof of the net.
The Essex side’s tails were up and they had appeals for a penalty waved away when Batten tangled with Morgan in the box. Ironically, from the resulting move, Batten’s glorious crossfield ball saw Taylor take it in his stride and centre for Conway, who nudged it past Worgan from six yards, much to the fury of the Chelmsford squad and management, steadfast in their belief that they should have had a spot-kick and playing against 10 men for Batten’s offence, Morgan’s protestations eventually earning him a caution.
It turned the tie in City’s favour as in startling symmetry to their first FA Cup game this season over Winchester, their maiden FA Trophy outing saw them go 1-0 up and recover from 2-1 down to win.
Two months ago that was thanks to a Conway double and a late deflected winner. This time it was a clear own goal as Harley’s ball to Smith down the right saw him thunder past Anthony Church before his low centre from the byline deflected off the thigh of Kpekawa to wrong-foot Worgan and gift City’s third.
Substitute Phil Roberts had a header well held by Henry as City saw out the closing stages without further hassle to conclude a remarkable week of fixtures against Essex clubs which produced 17 goals.
More importantly, Jerry Gill’s injury and absentee plagued side now have three wins in four after six straight defeats, and having knocked Swindon Supermarine out of the FA Cup last season, they’ll hope for similar joy in non-league’s main competition this weekend.
City’s Line-Up: Henry, Taylor, Grant, Smith, Batten, Artus (c), Harley, Richards, Conway, Dean, Horton. Subs not used: James, Pope, Watts, Bahadur.
Scorers: City – Conway (8, 71), OG (81); Chelmsford – Morgan (56), Asonganyi (65)
City Bookings: Grant (32)
Officials: S Yanni, R Saward, J Welsh